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The Nomad Base Station Pro can wirelessly charge 2 phones and a pair of AirPods at the same time, but at $230, it's too expensive to recommend

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Nomad Base Station Pro
Simon Hill/Business Insider

  • The Nomad Base Station Pro is a large Qi wireless charging pad with space for three devices.
  • Thanks to FreePower technology by Aira, this charger doesn't require perfect placement, so you can put your devices anywhere on the pad and they'll charge right up.
  • The wireless charger has an aluminum chassis and a luxurious leather finish that looks and feels great.
  • However, at $229.95, the Nomad Base Station Pro is too expensive to recommend to most people.
  • You can read our guide to the best wireless chargers for some alternative picks, most of which cost less than $50.

While there are many good wireless chargers on the market now, the underlying technology still has room for improvement. Multi-coil designs have reduced the need for precision placement, but there's still a sweet spot you need to hit if you want your phone to charge up properly.

With FreePower technology from Aira inside, Nomad's new Base Station Pro does away with the need for that careful positioning. You can casually drop your iPhone on this pad at night, alongside your AirPods, and rest safe in the knowledge that both will be fully charged come morning.

This large wireless charging pad has room for up to three devices, which can be charged simultaneously. Nomad isn't relying solely on function to tempt you into buying, though. This is also a beautifully crafted piece of tech, sporting an aluminum frame with a luxurious leather pad on top.

It's much slower than a regular charger and it costs an eye-watering $229.95, so should you consider buying one? I've been testing it for the last week to find out.

Design

Nomad has always favored a classy aesthetic featuring high quality, durable materials and the Base Station Pro is no exception. The precisely cut slate gray aluminum frame has curved corners and a subtle recessed Nomad logo at the top right. It feels strong and reassuringly solid. On top, there's a padded black leather expanse where you place your devices.

Underneath, two black rubber strips run the length of the charging pad and ensure that it doesn't slide around on your desktop or nightstand. There are three pinpoint white LEDs on the front that light up to show a device is charging.

In keeping with the simple, elegant design, there's a single USB-C port in the back. Plug one end of the 2-meter braided USB-C-to-USB-C cable in the back and the other into the 30W Power Delivery wall charger (both supplied in the box) and you're good to go. For the sake of thoroughness, Nomad also supplies US, EU, UK, and AU adapters that slide easily into place on the power supply.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Charging rate: Up to 7.5W per device for up to three devices simultaneously
  • AC adapter: 30W power supply with international adapters
  • Cable: 2-meter (6.5-foot) braided USB-C-to-USB-C cable

nomad base station pro
Nomad

Performance and features

The fact that you can place your phone on the Nomad Base Station Pro at any angle and expect it to charge is pleasing, and it works well, but there are some disappointing limitations lurking beneath the surface. Officially it supports Apple's iPhones, AirPods Pro, and AirPods with Wireless Charging Case, Samsung's Galaxy S, Note phones, and Galaxy Buds, and Google's Pixel range and Nexus 7 tablet.

I tested it out with an iPhone 8, an iPhone X, a Galaxy S10, and a Pixel 4, all with cases on, and found that it happily charged all of them, though it's best used with a couple of iPhones and a set of AirPods, because a trio of phones is a squeeze. It's also worth noting that the Nomad Base Station Pro can charge iPhones at their top maximum rate of 7.5W, but Android phones are limited to just 5W. If you're charging overnight this won't make any difference to you, but if you want to get quick top ups throughout the day, you can find faster wireless chargers.

The technology inside the Base Station Pro is called FreePower and it was developed by Aira, which partnered with Nomad for this device. Aira's aim is to provide what it calls "full surface freedom" so that you place down any device that supports Qi wireless charging on any part of the pad to start charging and it will automatically receive the correct amount of power.

Qi wireless charging relies on a system of coils to transfer power. When transmitting and receiving coils align, the device can begin to charge. While a regular wireless charger might have one, three, or maybe five coils, the Base Station Pro has 18 coils. Aira's FreePower technology enables the Base Station Pro to identify devices and accurately deliver the power they need. This precise charging enables it to waste less energy than most conventional wireless chargers and that, in turn, means it generates less heat, so there's no need for an internal fan.

If you were excited about Apple's abandoned AirPower wireless charger, then the Base Station Pro is going to be worth considering. I just wish it could charge an Apple Watch alongside the iPhone and AirPods; that would make it a truly compelling prospect. Sadly, Apple employs a proprietary charging system for its popular wearable. The good news is that Nomad is offering an Apple Watch mount that you can slot your Apple Watch charger into as a free optional add-on for the Base Station Pro.

I also tested the Base Station Pro with a Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 and got excited when the charging screen popped up, but unfortunately it couldn't charge my smartwatch. Apparently, even although many smartwatches support Qi wireless charging, they have tiny charging coils that simply don't work with the larger coils you find in wireless chargers for phones. 

The bottom line

The Nomad Base Station Pro has a pleasing understated design that should fit in anywhere. It's well made, it doesn't require you to be precise when you put a device on it, and it can charge up to three devices at once. Sadly, its appeal is limited because of the steep price, the 5W limitation for Android phones, and the lack of smartwatch support.

Nomad Base Station Pro
Simon Hill/Business Insider

Should you buy it?

At $229.95 the Nomad Base Station Pro is simply too expensive for most people. If you want to charge two iPhones and a set of AirPods overnight, then it might be just what you're looking for. It's also going to be tempting for anyone sick of finding their phone hasn't charged properly in the morning because they bumped it in the night or didn't place it carefully enough on the wireless charger the previous evening.

Which model should you get?

If the Base Station Pro is simply too expensive, but you like the style, consider the regular Base Station at $99.99. It can wirelessly charge two devices at once, though it lacks FreePower, so they will require more careful placement. Nomad also offers a Base Station Apple Watch Edition for $149.95, which adds a pop-up Apple Watch charger to a regular Base Station.

What are your alternatives?

You can find lots of alternatives in our best wireless charger guide, most of which cost less than $50. Our top pick in the guide, the Moshi Otto Q, costs $39.95, has a gray fabric design that looks good anywhere, charges most phones at top speed, and it is sturdy. It only charges one device at a time though, and multi-device wireless chargers do typically cost around $100. The one we recommend in our guide, the Unravel Wireless Charger, costs $99.99, for example.

Pros: Charges three devices simultaneously, no sweet spot, great build quality, attractive design, power supply with international adapters included

Cons: Maximum charging rate is 7.5W, doesn't support all devices, expensive

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